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Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?


I am about to start my last year in undergraduate as a mechanical engineering student with a focus on product design. I wish to go on and complete my masters at once in the aeronautical field. From all the different fields I could specialize in (controls, avionics etc) I have narrowed my interest down to 3. These are: aerodynamics, propulsion, and materials and structures. I would really appreciate some guidance here so as to help me better decide what to pursue. Answers to questions like: what are the job prospects for each field? How in demand are engineers in those fields? How much advancements have taken place in them recently? And any other input on the topic will be greatly appreciated.

A little about the experience I have had so far: most of my research experience in undergrad has been programming. I recently had a product design internship which involved mainly CAD modeling and FEM testing. I have taken graduate level classes such as finite element, and fundamentals of vibrations and will take more like propulsion, computational and thermal engineering, and computer aided design in addition to the regular coursework.

Based on this information, do you have any feedback, thoughts or opinions?


RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Yeah , get out into the real world and work for two or three years before you even consider a masters. If you cant narrow your interest down below three totally differenr fields, how can you even hope to make the optimum decision at thios stage in your life.?? All your indicated undergrad experience seems to have been at a computer. Have you ever picked up a wrench in your life??

RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Wow didn't think of that. That's actually a good point. So ideally if I get a job right off college in the aerospace field that offers rotational programs giving me exposure to the above 3 fields I should be better able to decide what to pursue a masters in. Thanks for that! Most of my undergraduate coursework was indeed computer based. I nonetheless still worked on getting hands on experience on projects by joining student organizations such as AIAA. That definitely did help me in that aspect.

RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Meh, I did the exact opposite (got a Masters in Aero in 18 months after graduating with a BS). I'd seen way too many people working on 10-year master's degrees at the university while trying to work, and balance home life etc. The best time for school is when you are young and have few(er) commitments.

I got my master's with a structural emphasis, and went to work as a combustion devices specialist, based I believe more on who I'd done my graduate research work with, not what my academic focus was. My wife, however, studied structures and was hired as a stress analyst for the same firm(s) I worked for. In hindsight, I think her specialty was more transferrable, and more reliably in demand, than a combustion specialist or aerodynamicist.
My $.02 only.

RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

I was just thinking about that. A lot of people graduate from college with the intention of coming back but due few actually do. My initial plan (still what I am considering) is to finish with academia at once by completing my masters while getting industry experience through internships. I do realize I will have to balance it with research but for some reason that to me sounds better than leaving and trying a come back.

From the three specializations I mentioned, I wanted to go initially for structures as well. But then I read up about how aerodynamics is crucial for every stage of aircraft design and got intrigued by that too. I added propulsion because of how much I loved the thermo classes I have taken in college.

RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

if you get a job with your bachelor's degree, it's unlikely that you'll feel the need to go get a Masters.

i think the only value in a Masters these days is that they try to cram too much into 4 years, so getting a Master's allows you to opportunity to go into some fields in some depth.

in my mind the demand for your four fields would be something like structures, materials, aerodynamics, propulsion.
propulsion is specialised aerodynamics ... few companies involved.
aerodynamics is usually a large OEM ... few companies, but more than engine OEMs, and the chance of a "CFD job-shop".
materials is a reasonaly general area, and with plastics coming into the airframe world there's lots of companies involved or getting involved.
structures is by far the most "wanted" skill ... lots of companies, lots of opportunities, also the field your most likely to get into without a Masters.

now, how do you rank the four in terms of your personal interest ?

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

RE: Masters in aerodynamics, materials and structures or propulsion?

Thank you very much for your answer rb1957!
Here is my personal ranking of the 4 (I initially grouped Structures and materials as one):

1. Structures
2. Materials
3. Aerodynamics
4. Propulsion

Coincidentally it matches what the demand trend you laid out. I feel that even though I want to go for structures, some knowledge of aerodynamics is still going to be necessary. I am going to try to incorporate some aerodynamics coursework along the way. But my main interest is definitely in structures.

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